ENGL 1105: Freshman Composition

Fall Semester 2012

MWF 1:25 – 2:15, Pamplin 2028

Instructor Nial C. DeMena

454 Shanks Hall

OH: MW 2:30 – 3:30



Composition at Virginia Tech (CAVT), edited by Diana George

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez

Google Account: Working Calendar, Docs and Gmail.



“Writing with Research” is the focus of Unit I. Moving into “Writing from Research” marks the beginning of Unit II. The theme of this second unit is journalism, community, responsible writing. I will use screencasts on occasion to help you on major papers and keep a Google Calendar for the class. Google Docs will be used for computerized note taking, if any, in class. Informal writings will be used to drive interest, creativity and original thought in class, in class writings, and your major writing assignments.



Final grades in the class will be a composite of the grades of your five major written assignments: Graded assignments are worth 70% of the final grade; class work is worth 30%.


Graded Assignments:                                            Class Work:

Unit I: Writing with Sources

Research Prospectus (Date)              10%          Participation                20%

Research Paper (Date)                      15%          Informal Writings       10%

Research Paper Presentation                5%

Unit II: Writing from Sources

Interviews (Date)                              10%

Research Draft (Date)                      10%

Research Paper (Date)                   20%



Because this class is a writing class, expect your writing to be judged evaluatively on the clarity of the content, the efficacy of the rhetoric with which you choose to deliver said content and the use or abuse of the structural and mechanical conventions of written language you, as writer’s using language, are loosely bound to adhere to, or know exist.


That being said, I will take into account the individual growth of the writer, speaker, and author. Having read and done your best to understand the material as well as your best on the major papers–the material products of thought–reflect the intelligence of a well-considered position and are convincing with their content and style. I am looking for a progression and improvement in your writing from when you started.



See Virginia Tech’s Honor Code as well as The Principles of Community printed on the inside cover of your required textbook. (; CAVT). Warning: Don’t do it! You will regret it and it could cost you your reputation here amongst your professors, peers, associates, and possibly others.



Class starts each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:25 PM. It ends at 2:15 PM. Be in your seat with a piece of paper and a writing implement ready to go including paper copies of an assigned reading, drafts for workshop, bibliographies, handouts, et cetera, ideally, before class starts. Three excused absences per Virginia Tech guidelines: Any excused absence in addition to three is unexcused, except if you have a doctor’s note or have had express approval from yours truly. If you are an athlete, or are similarly scheduled, or disabled, I need to know at the beginning of the first class or prior to Wednesday, January 18, 2012. For more information contact me via email.



From: …

Subject line: ENGL1106…

Content: …


I have filters on and my filters will filter your questions out of my inbox if you don’t use the ENGL1106 tag in every subject line of every email you send me. Students are welcome and encouraged to send me work, notes, or to schedule appointments over email. Blackout Dates: Friday at 2:16pm onward until Sunday night after 5pm, I will be unavailable by email unless otherwise requested and approved.



Writing with Sources (Defined)

“Writing with Sources” means writing done alongside or “accompanied by[1]” sources. This is a subjective written form in which your sources argue alongside you, or on your behalf. Thus, the preposition “with” suggests a special relationship the writing has to the source, which is to say that the writing and the source have an indirect, discrete pact to argue to a common truth, your truth. Basically, the sources support your writing, your idea.


Writing from Sources (Defined)

“Writing from Sources,” means writing relative to a particularly well-researched issue or topic derived from a plethora of sources. This is an objective form of writing akin more to journalism than to opinion and more to science than to the humanities. Writing from sources requires responsibility. It is tempered by the responsibility of knowing one’s goal, and knowing then executing a plan to change, support, clarify, or trigger that desired goal the evidence. Papers are about collecting all the evidence; the evidence should dictate your position and must be accounted for and or reconciled with at all costs.



Monday’s will be a dedicated to craft, Wednesday’s will be more focused on genres of writing and rhetoric, whereas Friday’s will be lessons of note.



Be courteous, be respectful, work hard, hand your materials in on time, show up to class ready for the day’s lesson, and by all accounts you will have the outcome you want—I will see to that personally. Be forthright in complaints, suggestions and compliments, as transparency has to remain throughout the entire semester.


I want the classroom to remain throughout the semester a handicap accessible space at all times. See VT’s ADA statement on the website: Also, visit university ADA services at 179 Southgate Center, Blacksburg, VA 24061, or call them by phone: (540) 231-4638. Their email is


Contact me if you have a question outside the purview of the policies covered in the syllabus.

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